Navratri essentially means nine nights, that time of the year which is celebrated in almost all corner of India. Yes, somewhere it’s the pure sound of Dhol, or the striking sound of the dandiya sticks. Navratri is all about celebration, colourful desi attires, scrumptious food and sweets.
9 Day’s Dedicated to Nine Form Of Goddess Durga
Photo by sheetalsaini
As I said Navratri means nine nights, and all these nine nights are dedicated to Shakti. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to nine faces of Goddess Durga. One more interesting fact about Navratri is that it is celebrated twice a year. The first celebration of the year happens at the arrival of summer and the second celebration takes place at the arrival of winter. Two separate seasons have their own deep reasons and secrets too.
Entire Nation Celebrates Navratri
Celebrating Navratri is a way to get the real feel of India. In fact, if you ever get to witness this celebration you would feel the real essence of India. In the current era India celebrates the festival of Navratri all the nine days amid splendour and show. Across India many states celebrate Navratri, and the best part is that each state displays a unique colour of Navratri. I mean across the nation Navratri is celebrated in unique and different ways, that’s why I said Vivid Colours of Navratri. These days Navratri celebrations in the metropolitan cities have a commercial twist to it. But the traditional way of celebration has been much more different and spiritual than it is today.
Vivid Colours Of Navratri In India
I understand that it is impossible to cover all parts of India to feel the different essence of Navratri in one festive season. But here is my little effort to make you feel the essence virtually! So come with me and take a look on how these different states in India celebrate the very auspicious festival of Navratri-
Photo by vaidyarupal
1. Gujarat- The Earthly Lamps
The reason why I choose to start the list with the western part of India is because the celebration from Gujarat is famous all across the globe. Yes! Heard of Garba & Raas Dandiya? I am sure you would have. Navratri is one of the most waited for festivals of this colourful state. Navratri is celebrated in the Ashwin month on the first nine days. Many devotees worship Maa Shakti and even fast for all these 9 days. The most beautiful part of Navratri celebrations in Gujarat are the earthen pots also known as Garbi. These pots have holes and beautiful diyas are kept inside it. Women use these Garbi’s during Aarti of Goddess Shakti. This festival from Gujarat is also quite often linked to the beautiful traditional folk dance Garba and Dandiya Raas. Both these dance forms are performed by both men and women. One more thing which deserves a mention is the traditional dresses worn by the people from this state, it’s absolutely awesome.
Photo by Amit Chattopadhyay
2. West Bengal, Odisha, Assam & Bihar – The Ten- Armed Goddess
Durga Puja, as it’s called in the eastern part of India. Durga Puja is celebrated across the beautiful states of West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Assam. While the festival is 9 days long but it is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the last four days, Saptami (7th Day), Ashthami (8th Day), Navami (9th Day) and Dashami (10th Day). If we talk about West Bengal, then Durga Puja is the main festival of the Bengalis. During the celebration time in Bengal it’s all about big pandals, extra-large size Goddess Durga idols with her lion and huge crowd of people dressed at their best and scrumptious street food. Each and every corner of the state of lighten up with lights. Beautiful Bengali women wear their typical traditional red saree, it’s a scene of true Bengali tradition and culture. Durga Puja in West Bengal is all about freshness and purity, sounds of Dhol, the Dhunuchi nachh, Dhak and not to forget the beautiful fragrance of agarbatti. I would like to add one more thing, do witness the celebration of Durga Puja in West Bengal once in your life time.
3. Tamil Nadu – Kolu
Let’s move to the south now, in Tamil Nadu Navratri is celebrated on all the nine days. South Indians have a very religious celebration, where they seek the blessings of 3 prime goddess on all the three days, i.e. Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The people from this state celebrate it together with friends, relatives and neighbours. Each family invite each other and exchange gifts like, clothes, jewelleries, sweets and much more. One of the most interesting part of the Navratri celebrations in Tamil Nadu is the celebration is the decoration of the “Kolu”. Kolu is essentially a 9 stairs staircase which represents 9 days of Navratri. Each and every stair is decorated with attractive dolls, statues of gods and goddesses. These dolls are actually handed over from one generation to the other generation.
Photo by GoDakshin
4. Andhra Pradesh – Batukamma Panduga
“Kolu” from Tamil Nadu is celebrated as “Batukamma Panduga” in Andhra Pradesh. Guess what Batukamma Panduga means, well it means Come Alive Mother Goddess. Like all even the celebrations in Andhra Pradesh are dedicated to Goddess Shakti for all the nine days. One of the most interesting thing about Batukamma Panduga is the beautiful flower stack called “Batukamma”. It’s a beautiful arrangement of seasonal flowers made by the women. Puja is performed in front of the Batukamma for all the nine days by the women. On the last day of the festival the Batukamma is set to afloat in the lake or any other water body.
5. Kerala – God Of Learning
This one was an interesting one for me, in Kerala people dedicate this festival to the Goddess of Learning- Ma Saraswati. The Keralites celebrate this festival on the last three days of Navratri and give immense importance to learning. On the 8th Day which is known as Ashtami, people place their books and musical instruments in front of the idol of Goddess Saraswati and worship for till the 10th day called Dashami. On Dashami which is the last these books are taken out.
6. Karnataka – Naada Habba
The 9 nights of Navratri are celebrated in the most traditional way even today. Way back in the 1610 navratri was celebrated by the Great Vijayanagara dynasty and even today people from this state celebrate all the nine days in the same manner like it was done before. This celebration is popularly known as “Naada Habba” in the state of Karnataka. The beautiful rituals performed in Naada Habba include elephants’ procession, exhibitions and fairs and much more.
Photo by sheetalsaini
7. Maharashtra – Saumangalyam
The Navratri celebrations in Maharashtra are quite similar to that of Gujarat. Navratri in this state of a symbol of new beginnings. This is one reason people from this state consider purchasing new home, car or start a new business during these 9 days. Haldi-Kumkum also known as Saumangalyam is another common sight in Maharashtra, where the married women call their female friends and relatives to put haldi and kumkum on their foreheads and also give them coconut, beetle leaves and nuts as gifts. Like Gujarat Garba and Dandiya night is another common sight in each and every locality of Maharashtra.
8. Himachal Pradesh – Kullu Dussehra
For all the other states in India the Navratri celebration ends on the third day, but in Himachal Pradesh the celebration begins on the tenth day. The people of this state celebrate this 10th day as “Kullu Dussehra”, the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Kullu Dussehra many processions are taken out where the idols are taken out from the temples. During this festival, people visit various temples to worship Goddess Shakti.
Photo by Devika_smile
9. Punjab – Kanjika’s & Jagratas
Yes, people fast for 7 days in Punjab, and end it on Ashtami or Navami. Devotees worship 9 cute little girls and a boy, popularly known as “Kanjika”. One more popular feature are the Jagratas organised by the Punjabis, in Jagratas people stay awake for the entire night and worship Goddess Durga and sing and dance together for the whole night.
So what do you think after going through these vivid colours of Navratri. Don’t you agree India is the land which is full of diverse traditions and cultures. And what can be a better way to feel how unique this country is? There is surely something unique about India which unites together these different diversities too. No wonder India is so different from all other countries across the world.
Featured Photo by Amit Chattopadhyay
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